One of the main features of weeks out from real life, regardless of the time of year at my French house in Brittany, are long French lunches. We eat out, usually for me this means bread and rose wine (red if it is Winter), a big dish of my beloved Moules Marinières, sometimes with chips, followed up with a butter and sugar crepe. Also sometimes I'll have a Foie Gras or seafood starter. So, you can probably guess that while we want to eat something, suppers at the French house are always, especially in Summer something light and fresh.
Something that is so stupidly simple, so delicious and perfect for enjoying in all this terribly hot weather we've been having recently is the classic Italian Caprese Salad, which funnily enough this year seems to have become a quite popular starter on French lunch menus. All you need to do is slice and put together the best quality mozzarella you can find and afford and the ripest tomatoes (read Farmers Market not supermarket quality). Drizzle with the best quality olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground pepper you can find and afford (recognising a pattern here?) Finish with fresh torn basil and serve with chilled rose wine, unless you had a liquid lunch like I did on this occasion, and with fresh crusty French or Italian bread. Enjoy!
This is the French House. We've had it about 5 years, and renovating it is a work in process. The bit on the left was a run down old barn, the bit on the right a home not fit for habitation when we first got a hold of it, but we're getting there. We've managed to keep some of the beautiful old beams and most of the local stonework on the inside, but it is still getting there. Promise a house tour when it is finally finished!
Most of my time in France is spent reading. Over the past week I spent there I spent most of it sitting outside reading A Respectable Trade by my favourite author Philippa Gregory (a brilliant inside historical fiction tale surrounding the slave, rum and sugar trade in Bristol) and Johnson's Life Of London written by our illustrious mayor. His book is a fantastic overview of the history of London focusing on major figures in the development ouf our city from the Romans to the Rolling Stones. It is an enjoyable read, and you'll learn a lot from it that you never even touched on in school history lessons.
While we have been traveling to our part of Brittany at least once a year (but more like once a month) for the past 6 years there is still so much more to discover so we always try to plan new things to do each time we are there. Due to the heatwave we decided to just stick to our familiar haunts, but later in the year we want to go further West along the coast.
How have your Summer holidays been shaping up so far, or if you are only just about to set off, where are you headed? Look out for a couple of recipe posts over the next week or so from the French house with more of what we cooked there.